Tag Archives: soup

Starts with Stew and Finishes with Soup

I note my last post was number 2,800. I always like round numbers.

Yesterday Julia did some tidying while I was out. She rang me to tell me that she was half-way through, which worried me. However, when I got back she had moved all the furniture, put down the rug that had been rolled up at the edge of the room for years after we were given it, and put everything back. The room is brighter and the floor feels warmer but I was right – it is too big to fit properly. However, considering what the next winter is going to be like I think we need warmth more than a rug that fits. OK, I say “rug” but it’s more of a carpet. It’s easy to forget that carpets weren’t always fitted.

I’m giving up on the lottery. I had four wins at the weekend – two lots of £5 and two free tickets. I think each one was probably a win and the tickets were thrown in for free. I hope so, because if not I seem to have bough too many tickets. All that luck being squandered on winning just £10. I may as well save my money and use the luck on something else. Julia says it doesn’t work like that, but we gamblers know it does. I’m just glad that I’m not given to big-time gambling. All those smoky clubs and international jet-setting are not really me.

We had vegetable stew for tea last night. Then the woefully inadequate ASDA delivery arrived. Seven substitutions. One substitution was for 2 half kilo bags of carrots for a 1 kilo bag. Fair enough. Then they substituted parsnips with more carrots and swede with ready chopped swede (which always goes off so fast) and gave me rosemary for thyme. This might be OK in a traditional folk song but it’s no good for stews and we have a gardenful of rosemary. They sent us kale in place of leeks, which would have been a disappointing quiche, and 6 Free Range Eggs in place of 15 Economy eggs (telling us they had saved us money as the 6 eggs were 15p cheaper than the 15). I used the word “rip-off” when they sent me a customer satisfaction survey. Finally we were told there would be a bag of cauliflower florets in place of a cauliflower, but there wasn’t. There was a cauliflower.

How, I ask myself, can we be short of root vegetables. They are seasonal and many of them are grown within an hour’s drive of here. Something is going seriously wrong with the world when you can’t buy parsnips, swedes and leeks in autumn.

Tea tonight was curried vegetable soup. Or vegetable stew with curry powder, extra water and a quick application of the stick blender. It was cheap, quick and nutritious. And it makes “convenience foods” look quite time consuming. We had a mackerel sandwich with it, my concession to oily fish.

And those are some of the domestic details that I missed out of the last post. Header picture is soup from an October 2014 post.

Carrot & Ginger Soup

Soup, Salmon and Cheesy Comestibles

More soup. Carrot and Lentil today, plus a few bits of parsnip, sweet potato and chickpea that were hanging about after being surplus to to other recipes. My favourite soups all seem to be orange.

In the evening we had salmon with stir-fried veg. I am not fond of fish, and the oily fish I am supposed to eat for health reasons is amongst the worst of the fish, well, except for rock salmon, hake, basa, sardines and kippers. And eels and pike. Actually, it’s not too bad when you think about it . . . Tuna is no longer an oily fish, according to the NHS, though it is still listed on other sites. Typical that the only palatable oily fish has been removed.

I have never particularly liked fish with bones in, like sardines and kippers, and after the incident with the fishbone in my school dinner I have always tried to avoid them.

The Winter Menu starts tomorrow, with multi-vegetable corned beef hash. This year I will not be slathering it in brown sauce as I am cutting down on pickles to reduce my salt and sugar intake. I have also ordered cheese footballs with the TESCO shopping on Saturday.  It’s more expensive and less efficient than ASDA but there are some things I specifically want from them.

Christmas cannot proceed without cheese footballs,, and once they are ordered Christmas has officially started. It’s a bit early, but they are in, and I don’t want to risk the smooth running of Christmas.

Carrot & Ginger Soup

Soup, Rats and Hitler

Soup again today. Roasted butternut squash, leeks, garlic, water, vegetable stock cube. It doesn’t have many ingredients and it’s a simple recipe – roast veg, boil it up, blend. Done. You are forgiven if you are wondering why I used leeks as they don’t seem like natural partners. Regular readers have probably already guessed – after some bad shopping decisions and a holiday I had run out of onions. That was why Friday’s tea was cauliflower cheese with roasted calabrese. We nearly had roasted leeks but I needed them for the soup and the Sweet Potato & Chickpea Curry. I really need to put more thought into my menu planning.

The weather has taken a turn for the worse and the evenings are feeling a bit nippy now. It will soon be time to unpack the jumpers and start doing other wintry things. We are hoping, as usual, to last September out without using the heating. This is even more important this year., with the cost of gas.

Earlier this evening I was browsing the internet and found an interesting article on farming in WW2. It includes a Ministry of Agriculture leaflet, as displayed below. As you may note, the rat has a Hitler moustache and fringe drawn on it – propaganda was simpler in those days. If I were a rat I’d be very upset about this. As you may recall, I am no lover of rats, after years spent working farms, but even I think they are getting a bad deal here.

Actually, I’ve just been thinking – when you look at the Putin/Poo Tin pictures that were done at the start of the war in Ukraine propaganda hasn’t moved on much.

However, there is a serious point behind the rat message – a rat can eat 15-20g of grain a day. In 14 months four members of the Women’s Land Army in Wales killed 7,600 rats. That number of rats could have been eating a ton of grain a week, which would produce about 1,700 loaves of bread.  That would mean those rats could have eaten the equivalent of around half a million loaves of bread over the course of the war. And that is just in one part of Wales.

Carrot & Ginger Soup

Soup, Seeds and a Kitchen Mishap

I just wiped out 200 words of text. I could retrieve it, but I was debating whether to keep it anyway. There are always more words . . .

University Challenge is back on, so winter cannot be far off. After a good match tonight, including me answering a good selection of questions, we watched a documentary on the first 60 years of the show. This contained quite a lot of interesting material including the preparation some teams go through and what some of the contestants did afterwards. However, I did feel it could have been a lot more interesting. What I am noticing more and more is that TV programmes take fifteen minutes of material and spread it out over 45 minutes. I’m not sure if it’s a new fashion in TV or a sign that my intelligence is growing and needs more input. Frankly, it’s unlikely that I am becoming smarter, so am forced, once more, into believing the cynical option.

They also showed a couple of question setters. One of them referred to something being “very unique”. I hate it when they do that. Things can’t be grades of unique. It’s the same as being dead or pregnant. You are, or you aren’t. What sort of questions will they set if they don’t have a basic grasp of language?  And will they have answers that are graded as “correct” and “very correct”?

This afternoon I roasted some butternut squash to make soup. I also cleaned the seeds and roasted them. I’m not clear whether it’s ecologically sound  or not, roasting a few seeds just to avoid waste, but it ended in disaster anyway, when I overcooked them. They still tasted good in parts, but the overwhelming taste of carbon was a bit off-putting. Next time I will pay more attention to temperature and timing.

Tomorrow we will be having roasted squash soup, but it won’t be sprinkled with seeds.

 

 

Day 110 (part 2)

The soup plan took place and I decided that today was a day for lentil soup. First call was the cupboard where  keep the pulses, but on the way I took a quick look in the fridge. There was a packet of vegetables I wanted to use for hash for tea. It’s not a sophisticated dish but it is easy and it keeps. Soup tonight and hash tomorrow, or vice versa – an easy meal plan, as the veg for hash can also become vegetable stew if necessary.

When I looked at the ready-cubed vegetables I realised that they were too small for the hash, so they became soup. Carrot and swede (rutabaga) soup with leeks, garlic and a stock cube. It’s quite orange, and slightly sour, and it’s still in the pan as we decided on hash. Tomorrow is soup with salad and quesadillas, though the seasoning needs work. It’s likely to end up with a large helping of curry powder. Lentil soup will be next week.

That, in turn, meant that I had to cut quite a lot of vegetables, which isn’t fun with stiff fingers and sore knuckles. I wimped out of cubing swede, as it’s a hard vegetable to do and the knife I use is capable of removing a finger if you get it wrong. With my fingers as they were this afternoon, there was a good chance of getting it wrong, so common sense prevailed. We made do with carrot, parsnip, potato, sweet potato, leek and cabbage. The corned beef was a bit of a problem as the key was missing. I cut most of the base out of the can with a can opener, but had to finish off with a knife. (See previous comments about fingers . . .)

I will rest my fingers for the next few days and see how things develop. They do tend to get stiff every so often so I’m hoping that rest, and possibly a hot water bottle will do the trick. I did the shopping online. This Friday I will pick things up from TESCO as you can order fewer items if you pick it up in the car park. Next Friday we have a full shop from ASDA – again ordered with a single click. It will nee a bit of work to alter it, but not much compared to ordering from scratch. I will be ordering more pre-cut veg, to save my fingers.

When Julia came home, I decided to ask if she would like a drink using Makaton. She did and she indicate she would like tea (a drinking gesture featuring a raised little finger – like a posh lady drinking tea).  Coffee is indicated by a drinking gesture and fingers held to give a C shape. e went through some of the other signs later in the evening, where I discovered that stiff fingers make sign language tricky.

I really hope that rest and warmth does the trick. I would say “fingers crossed” but it seems wrong in the circumstances.

Stephen Hawking 50p

Carrot & Ginger Soup

Day 110

I’ve been reviewing my soup making. The celery was disappointing, but apart from that the others haven’t been too bad. However, at this point I have to admit that “the others” generally means root vegetable soups, and they are difficult to mess up. I’ve also done mushroom, pea, broccoli and cauliflower, which have all been passable. The roasted squash soup I did last week was very good, but by the time I’d finished roasting the frozen squash chunks they had shrunk to almost nothing, and I ended up with just two portions. I know that roasting the veg adds to the flavour, but I feel guilty about using the oven just to roast in a bit of extra flavour.

I really need to extend my repertoire, but that would mean buying ingredients specially and that isn’t how I view soup. Soup is mainly what happens to stuff you have had too long. Yes, the pea soup and the roasted squash soup featured specially bought ingredients, but all the rest were just things I had too much of.

It’s my day off today and Julia has gone on a course to brush up on her Makaton so I am faced with a long boring day. I could look up some interesting soup recipes . . .

Or I could look at some Makaton videos and surprise her tonight by asking her if she wants a cup of tea by signing. Perhaps not. After a day of training she can probably do with a cup of tea without additional difficulty.

Soup recipes then . . .

Carrot & Ginger Soup

Day 88

I’ve just written a post and discarded it. Not everything that goes on inside my head makes for good reading, particularly when it’s a discussion of the merits, or otherwise, of eating tofu. You know what I think of salad? Well I dislike tofu more. I know that’s difficult to believe, but it’s true. At least salad has flavour. Tofu, unfortunately, does not.

It’s late now, but under the titling system currently in use, I feel I must post every day and leave no gaps. If it wasn’t for that I’d just go to bed.

There’s something about a row of numbers, on the other hand,  that helps keep you up to the mark.

I’m going to try Carrot & Ginger Soup tomorrow and see how it turns out. Last time I tried it I couldn’t really taste the ginger, so I added it to the list of lacklustre soups and filed it in my mental list of soups to try again. I need to get back on the diet, so it’s time for more soup.

So far this year has seen a few good soups and a few to try again. After carrot & Ginger I will try Celery again, as I feel it’s one that should be good for a low carb diet. Owing to the effect of ordering groceries on the internet, I now have  a stockpile of celery.

I’m hoping it promotes clear thought, as i still have a raft of submissions to make, and a lack of suitable material. Tomorrow is make or break day – three submissions to do and  alack of days to do them in. I may have to shelve some of them and start work on the April submissions. April? Already?

 

 

Day 61

Day 61 came. Day 61 went. I slept through the end of it and am writing this a little late. That’s the trouble with Julia being on holiday, there is no bustle and packing of bags in preparation for tomorrow. It was one of then better things about lockdown and something to look forward to when we retire. That and getting up when I feel like it instead of when the clock demands it.

Counting the days is becoming more difficult now that I have three months to consider. I will, no doubt, get used to it.

In poetry terms, Obsessed with Pipework is out, and I am in it. I can’t point you to a link because it is not online and I can’t quote myself because I should give them some time before I do that. Not sure how long as, unlike some magazines, they don’t specify. I will do it in a couple of months if I remember. I like OWP because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Nor does it let the process of not taking itself seriously become too serious, which is a fault of some magazines that try not to take themselves too seriously, if that makes sense.

Quality poems, captivating covers, laid back attitude and the editorial good taste to accept my work. That is an excellent magazine.

Today’s vegetable soup, which saw the end of several manky carrots, a fossilised parsnip and half a bag of ready cubed swede  from the supermarket, turned out to be quite good. It also had onions and chilli. It was golden beige in colour and quite tasty with little red spots from the chillies. I foolishly put my taste-buds out of commission during the cooking because the chilli didn’t seem to be flavouring the soup. I added more, then more again. Still no result. So I tasted a slice (I was using fresh ones from the shop). Turns out that the slice I tasted was a great deal hotter than the previous slices I had added to the soup.

Day 50

What a nice round number. You can almost imagine Number 50 wearing a waistcoat and a watch chain, can’t you? Or maybe that’s just me.

I had a go at celery soup today, as I have been threatening for weeks. I got the celery out and searched for a potato . . .

There are none. My attempt to reduce carbs and wrinkly veg has left us with no spuds. That’s why the soup is very orange. In the end I didn’t use celery, because in my search for potatoes I found several bags of carrots. I decided that carrot and ginger soup sounded nice, and the celery plan was, once more, put on hold.

In went half a leek (I had one hanging about and couldn’t be bothered to peel an onion). Then the end of a bag of carrots, garlic paste, stock cube, some swede to take some of the sweetness out of the carrots, and some ginger. Not enough ginger, as it turns out, as you can’t actually taste it. Maybe I should have gone with the thyme. The only thing that stopped me was fear of overkill but now, on looking it up, I find there are recipes for carrot, ginger and thyme soup. Presumably these were written by people like me who throw stuff at a pot and seek to justify it later. I really ought to take a more serious attitude to soup and start with a recipe instead of a pile of random ingredients.

However, as random as my soup is, it still has a long way to go before it becomes as bizarre as some of these soups.

The soup in the header picture is a swede, carrot and parsnip soup. Not the restrained colour. Now look at the one below, which is today’s soup.

Carrot & Ginger Soup

Carrot & Ginger Soup

Day 41

It’s the early hours of the morning and, as usual, I am still up finding odd jobs to do. Yesterday was quite action packed so I’m going to write about it now and may even squeeze another post in today – or lengthen this one in the evening. There are so many options!

I’ve had a couple of emails in the last few days, but nowhere to fit the news in. I made four submissions at the end of January, two of them have now come back with acceptances. Two acceptances is good. It means I am back in the groove and it also means means I have 18 poems back, and can use them again. I will edit and polish and see what happens.

This is why it’s easier to make submissions when you are doing it constantly – there is a constant turnover as submittable material comes back. Some months last year my submissions were entirely poems which had already been out. This is so much easier than having to start from scratch. Admittedly, not all returned poems are fit to send out again, but most of them are, and many of them are used on their second or third attempt. I’ve read interviews by well known poets who have done well with work that has been submitted over 20 times.

Sometimes the talent you need isn’t writing ability but persistence.

Same goes for vegetable stew making. Last week it was appalling, mainly due to the use of putrid parsnips, this week it was excellent, and I had the added pleasure of using the cauliflower leaves from last night as greens to add more goodness to the stew and prevent waste. Why compost it when you can eat it?

I also had a blood test – as I said, it’s all happening! Nobody has rung so I assume I passed. Nobody has rung to complain that I am a week late either, I think we have finally reached an understanding. Next time I also have a liver function blood test to make sure the arthritis drugs aren’t doing me any damage. I hope they aren’t, as I’m reasonably happy with them at the moment.

The picture is snowdrops from 2019. They are out now but I have no new photos. That has been a feature of the days of covid – very few new photos.